Since 2013 experts from the Federal Plant Variety Office have been supporting India in the introduction of a new plant variety and seed law. India is striving to increase its competitiveness in the seed sector. Therefore it aims at harmonizing the Indian plant and variety system with international standards. These include the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), the OECD Seed Schemes and the EU Seed legislation.
The Federal Plant Variety Office (BSA) trains Indian experts on the topics of plant variety protection and variety listing. In various workshops it demonstrates how the examination for distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) is technically carried out. The seminars focus mainly on species relevant for India like maize, wheat, barley, rape seed, mustard, apple, rose and pea. Also addressed are recording, evaluating and storing of data from the observations and measurements of the DUS testing. The workshops take place at testing stations both in India and in Germany.
All seminars are conducted within the BMEL's project "Indo-German Cooperation on Seed Sector Development". The overall objective of this project is the harmonization of the Indian plant variety and seed system with international standards. Project partners on Indian side are the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights' Authority (PPV&FRA), the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) and the National Seed Association of India (NSAI). On German side, in addition to the BSA, the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), the Federal Association of German Plant Breeders (BDP) and the University of Hohenheim are also involved.
With more than 1.3 billion inhabitants and still growing, India is one of the most populous countries in the world. Indian agriculture is facing significant challenges in ensuring the food supply for the growing population in the future. However, the Indian seed sector offers great potential for meeting these challenges.